The curatorial concept “Utopia by Design” by Maša Milovac and her team of associates called the “Utopian Collective”, selected to represent Croatia at the London Design Biennale, is based on moving away from the expected and familiar. Considering a somewhat outdated format of representation of design within biennial showings that practice selecting some of the best designs with a national tint and keeping in mind the given theme, the “Utopian Collective” was conceived as a non-conventional experimental process with the goal of exploring work of a collective and work in a collective, i.e. the status of what is common, synergic and collaborative, as one of the possible formats of the design practice. This departure stands in contrast to the individualistic practice as an imperative of competitiveness and antagonisation in the consumer society and the neoliberal market environment. The “Utopian Collective” team of designers, comprised of Maja Čule, Hrvoje Hiršl, Maja Kolar, Maša Poljanec, Oleg Šuran, Mauro Massarotto, Mauricio Ferlin and Hrvoje Živčić, was assembled for the purposes of this presentation which makes this their first joint collaboration.
In the exhibition space we witness several different layers of “reading” that are the direct consequence of the development phases of the work process. The first element, basic in character, represents “common ground”, shaped as a proto-idea of the world, a two-dimensional “globe”, the unifying idea of a circle. The second layer consists of three-dimensional objects, “keepers of emptiness”, certain vessels originating from the development process of the collective’s expression language. The third element of the whole is the sound that gives this environment a time dimension and through the spoken word coveys key elements of synergy, but also the specificities of the individuals’ attitudes, a narrative resulting from the dialogue between designers, the members of the “Utopian Collective”.